Fluidized bed combustion (FBC) residues from four Iowa power plants were characterized to provide background with respect to chemical, physical, mineralogical and microstructural parameters that might affect their utilization potential. Methodologies used include: bulk chemical analysis; grain size analysis; specific gravity determination; mineralogical analysis by x-ray diffraction; scanning electron microscopy; and thermal analysis.
Chemical analysis of the major components showed the separation of the constituents during combustion. The bottom ash is derived from the calcined and partly sulfated limestone, thus the concentration of calcium and sulfur compounds is greater. The fly ash however is derived mostly from the coal and therefore exhibits higher concentrations of coal ash components such as silica (SiO2), alumina (Al2O3), and ferric oxide (Fe2O3). The alkalis appear to be more concentrated in the fly ash.
The measured particle size distributions of the bulk samples varied greatly, from extremely coarse (mean particle size ˜2000 μm) to fine (mean particle size ˜25 μm). The size distributions also varied in breadth. Specific gravities values recorded ranged from about 2.65 to about 3.05.
X-ray diffraction analyses showed that most of the FBC by-products contain, as easily detectable crystalline components, only quartz, anhydrite and lime, and as is to be expected due to the low combustion temperatures, do not show broad peaks characteristic of glass in conventional fly ashes. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the FBC by-products to be extremely intricate mixtures of particles of complex and variable composition and internal structure.
FBC by-products are shown to be extremely complex mixtures of particles of variable composition and internal structure. However, despite their local variation, useful results can be obtained by overall chemical and physico-chemical analyses of their composition. The exploitable properties of FBC residue include the somewhat cementitious nature and the granularity. However, their heterogeneous nature, lack of pozzolanic properties, and elevated sulfate content may limit their uses, especially in construction.